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BAFTA Puts BBC Exec Anne Morrison in the Driving Seat

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has appointed former BBC senior exec Anne Morrison — who helped relaunch hit motoring show “Top Gear” — as its chair, succeeding John Willis.

Morrison has been deputy chair for the past year, and her tenure as chair will run for the next two years. Willis will be deputy chair for one year.

Morrison, who is the second woman to become chair in the history of BAFTA, has been closely involved with the organisation for six years as a member of the television committee, chair of the learning and events committee, and member of the board of trustees. Hilary Bevan Jones was BAFTA’s first female chair in 2006.

Morrison’s background is principally in television production, starting as a producer/director, and rising to become controller of documentaries and contemporary factual at the BBC, responsible for 1,000 staff and more than £100 million ($171 million) in program budgets. Under her leadership, the production department made programs as diverse as “Dunkirk,” “The Secret Policeman,” “The Queen’s Golden Jubilee,” “One Life,” “Mischief” and “What Not to Wear,” and relaunched “Top Gear.” She was then appointed program director of the Network Supply Review, planning and overseeing the dramatic growth of BBC network television from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In 2009, Morrison was appointed director of the BBC Academy, overseeing the largest broadcast training organization in the U.K., and delivering over 57,000 days of training each year to BBC staff and the wider broadcasting industry. She has driven the creation and delivery of all BBC training in journalism, production, leadership and technology. Morrison recently announced her departure from the BBC later this year.

Morrison said: “Over the next two years, I want to build on everything BAFTA has already achieved, from the prestigious awards to the amazing year-round learning program that supports, nurtures and develops new talent. I look forward to sharing my passion for offering opportunities to talented young people, regardless of their background, and inspiring them to progress further in their careers. BAFTA has something for everyone, from young game designers to world-leading practitioners.”

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